"I’ve always thought that there is a great female James Bond movie to be done. I’m not literally calling her Jane Bond, I mean, but a female secret agent."
Dear Aaron Sorkin,
Maybe you should work on improving the female characters on your own show before asking why there hasn’t been a female James Bond movie yet. The Newsroom, while of course well written, is blatantly sexist and has extremely weak female characters. Every woman on the show obsesses over their male counterpart or lack thereof. Sorkin gives the illusion of strong women by putting them in positions of power, like MacKenzie McHale (played by Emily Mortimer), who is the executive producer of Newsnight. While she is technically in charge, she almost always does what anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) says, and when she doesn’t it’s usually shown to be the wrong decision. She completely falls apart over Will and very rarely has a conversation that’s not about him in some way. This is the same with most if not all of the other female characters in The Newsroom
Aaron Sorkin is very good at looking like he has created and cares about strong female roles in television and film, but I’ll just leave you with this:
When asked about the lack of female protagonists in Hollywood:
“I promise you nothing but capitalism drives decision-making in Hollywood.”
“…these decisions aren’t made entirely by men. There are roughly as many women who can greenlight a film in Hollywood as there are men.”
I disagree. I don’t see Sorkin as having a sexist view of women just as he doesn’t have a sexist view of men. After all Don is obsessed with Sloan, and Jim is hung up on Maggie. It’s about men and women having something called emotions. it’s just reality. Do you know a reporter named Lara Logan, at one time chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS? At one time she was married, having an affair with another journalist and having his baby. She is currently on leave due to having Ok’d a report that turned out to be false. Egads! a woman making a mistake? not being thorough in her investigation? just like a man might do? I guess that’s called being human, not sexist. It sounds like you really didn’t watch the entire series, because you’re mistaken about her decisions being wrong most of the time. She is wrong one major time—she OK’d the Genoa report. Otherwise she is the stronger of the two, the woman usually telling Will what to do, usually telling him to stop being a weenie. At one point when he refuses to question a guest on the show she pushes him into a wall after he’s off the air. Early in the series he;s the one calling her to se what needs to be done, being nervous about making his own decisions. At the beginning of the series she handles the reporting of the oil rig explosion correctly, and on another she refuses to report a congresswoman is dead until she has good reports she is. And have you seen Sloan in action? How about Leona Lansing? Hallie? Yes, Mac loves Will but that emotion does not cause her to not do her job the way it should be done. I think sexism is in the eye of the beholder. Just because the basis of this show is that it has the qualities of a romantic comedy it does not mean it is sexist. If you want to find it because you’re inclined to do so, you’ll find it. I did not find it in this show.
let’s take these one at a time:
Every woman on the show obsesses over their male counterpart or lack thereof.
- Don asks a bunch of questions about Sloan’s dates and is apparently so distracted by her that he can’t even put his chair back together and falls backwards out of it twice.
- Will screams at Mac in front of the whole newsroom over the email fiasco “THAT DOESN’T FUCKING HAPPEN TO ME”
- Will stays up all night reading dating advice websites
- Will interrupts his therapist’s appointment with another patient just so he can talk to him about MacKenzie
- Will is so worked up over the combination of the article written by her ex boyfriend and the fact that she never returned his 5/1 call that he ends up in the ER with bleeding ulcers
- Will buys a half-million-dollar engagement ring just to make MacKenzie feel bad
- Jim is so upset by the whole Maggie thing that he takes off on an assignment he is clearly overqualified for just to get away from her/the situation
Sorkin gives the illusion of strong women by putting them in positions of power, like MacKenzie McHale (played by Emily Mortimer), who is the executive producer of Newsnight. While she is technically in charge, she almost always does what anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) says, and when she doesn’t it’s usually shown to be the wrong decision.
- Will goes behind her back to put in some stuff about Sarah Palin and then it bombs and he looks like a spectacular ass
- He wants to do more about the oil spill and MacKenzie says no and he does what she says
- She doesn’t want to do the Casey Anthony coverage but does it anyway to save Will’s job (from Leona, who CAN fire his ass) and get the debate; the coverage is stupid and vulturistic and everyone would rather be doing things her way (not covering Casey Anthony)—and then after they don’t get the debate they go back to doing things her way
- Whenever Will lets a guest get away with crap on the air (I’m thinking in particular of Cyrus West but that isn’t the only example) she lets him know that is unacceptable and he can’t argue with her because he knows she’s right
She completely falls apart over Will and very rarely has a conversation that’s not about him in some way.
- She cries about Will, ONCE, in a personal conversation with Sloan, when it’s implied that it’s late and that she and Sloan have both been drinking
- She tells Charlie she’s worried about Will, ONCE, when he’s in the hospital with bleeding ulcers
- She yells at Will, ONCE, for not taking better care of himself (he could have bled to death if she and Lonny hadn’t found him) because, you know, he could have DIED
- She mentions to Don, ONCE, that Will is on a date with Nina, pouts slightly, and then the conversation moves on
- She has many, MANY conversations over the course of S2 about Genoa (you know, a huge work related thing) that don’t reference Will or involve him in any way except to mention that “Will is not aware of Genoa,” and then only when someone else brings him up
- The main person responsible for fucking up Genoa was a man
- MacKenzie was the one to figure out what he did, after a large team of lawyers already went through everything one time and never caught it
- A woman owns the entire company
- The head of the legal team in S2 is a woman
AMEN CALLIE A-FUCKING-MEN!
Excellent response from two who really have watched the show and who actually paid attention to the dialogue and action. In true critical analysis of literature or the visual media, the writer must rely on evidence from the text to prove his/her thesis. Femalerogerevert must not have learned that to be a “female roger ebert” you can’t just throw out ideas, assumptions, or gossip heard from other sources. Instead, use an intelligent and thoughtful read or viewing of the material and then make your own deductions. Three of us (all of us female, by the way) did do just that.